Trump and other populists suffer from a bad case of Putin envy

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Call it Putin envy. Whatever their differences, the one thing the new wave of right-wing populist politicians now emerging from the fringes of the Western democracies have in common—from America’s Donald Trump to France’s Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen, from Italy’s Beppe Grillo to Austria’s Norbert Hofer and Hungary’s Viktor Orban—is admiration for Russia’s autocratic strongman Vladimir Putin. You’d probably have to go back to the heyday of the Comintern to find an eastern leader who enjoyed the sort of regard with which Putin is held by leading figures of the democracies’ populist right. In fact, the Slavic caudillo has managed ...